We Should Be Free
City cracks down on found food: I'm ambivalent about this until I think back to the fact that a lot of people, both at home and at restaurants, often handle food in an unsafe manner that leads to food poisoning ["The High Cost of Free Food," Peter Jamison, Sucka Free City, 12/21]. This foraging for food, a survival skill, is not so crazy, and people — adults — should be left to make their own decision.
Food trucks need to play by the rules: Jonathan Kauffman's foodie antagonism toward brick and mortar establishments is unfair ["Rocky Road: Food Trucks Clash with Downtown Businesses," Eat, 12/21]. It's a brutal business, selling food, and it doesn't get easier when the city lets a competitor use parking in front of someone's store (usually parking for the store's customers) to sell competing wares. It's called unfair competition. The food trucks, which want to be in the food service business without investing in the capital that a full-fledged restaurant requires, have become almost militant in the dogged belief that they have the right to sell their wares without regard to the impact on existing businesses (although S.F. routinely fights big box retailers when they threaten small businesses.).
S.F. has repeatedly and consistently limited the right to open new restaurants and bars in areas where there is a concentration. The same should hold true for food trucks.
"The two spots Khanna and Volkema selected are blocks of tall buildings, with few street-front businesses and no trucks to date. Most of the existing restaurants serve similar food." I don't believe this is correct, as I worked across the street. The Drumm Street spot, for example, is on a block of small, older, historically significant buildings across from the Hyatt Hotel. (And no, I do not own a restaurant and have no connection to these companies.) The restaurants are a Vietnamese banh mi place, a Middle Eastern restaurant selling falafel, a Chinese restaurant, and a burrito place around the corner. The customers are nearby office workers, limo and cab drivers who park on Drumm, tourists, and others.
There is nothing wrong with a food truck in a place that isn't cutting other people off at the knees. But given the costs of owning and operating a small business in the city, the food truck operators are asking for something at the expense of others. I'm all in favor of good food, but not when it takes away someone else's meal.
From MP3s to Tapes
Returning to cassettes for music: I knew I held on to that NAD Electronics dual tape deck for a reason ["Caught on Tape," Sam Lefebvre, Music, 12/21]. Don't ask me if I bought it new, but I'm old enough that I could have. Sweet article!
Blog Comments of the Week
Five-dollar food challenge speaks volumes: I love farmers' markets but too often they are the province of the monied class and that isn't who needs it the most ["Slow Food $5 Challenge Made Alice Waters Cry," Jonathan Kauffman, SFoodie, 12/16]. When you have $5 for the whole meal, buying even questionably organic at the big grocery chains becomes "too much."
Lots of pomp and circumstance for a cup of joe: All the methods and machines related to how to make coffee — do they make any difference? ["Blue Bottle Introduces the 'Transcendent' Nel Drip at Mint Plaza," Noah Sanders, SFoodie, 12/19]. I think filtered water makes a big difference. The roast makes a difference. But the coffee machinery — poured, siphoned, etc.? I'll wait for the results of a double-blind taste test before spending money on that stuff.